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Licencing enables someone to recieve compensation for their ideas.

Thank you.

Regardless by what means - I certainly hope you succeed in your goal.

This is an area where scientific research may show us something. It's not only required that you make a discovery to be credited as `the´ inventor. It's required that you document your findings in a recognized publication reviewed by your peers before anyone else does. If you're not the first in publishing, bad luck.

Pedro that is a fantastic idea.

Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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Considering that there is no disputing the fact that the chefs who originally created these dishes are truly artists and not simply craftsmen, what prevents this from being an unauthorized reproduction of their work? My big question would be :

Was this chef authorized to reproduce and claim as his own the dishes he learned as a stagiere by the chefs who created them?

Taking it so far as to duplicate the exact graphic design of the photos and not give attribution, the shrimp pasta dish for example... photos are definitely copyrighted material, aren't they?

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Considering that there is no disputing the fact that the chefs who originally created these dishes are truly artists and not simply craftsmen, what prevents this from being an unauthorized reproduction of their work?  My big question would be was this chef authorized to reproduce the dishes he learned as a stagiere by the original creators and claim them as his own? 

Taking it so far as to duplicate the exact graphic design of the photos and not give attribution, the shrimp pasta dish for example... photos are definitely copyrighted material, aren't they?

I believe that if one invites the stage, one just takes that risk. We cant police everyone. What if there were 50 chefs that decided to copy all of Chef G's dishes. Then this discussion would be futile and we wouldnt know where to begin.

Photos and pictures that are taken by someone that has created or copied a dish or technique are not infringing on any copyright law. Simply because the picture is of something that has no copyright or patent protection. Now lets say he decided to recreate something Alinea did file protection for, and filed a PCT or international protection for, then the law is being broken.

When we cut and paste a photo digitally without authorization, then it also becomes illegal.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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Considering that there is no disputing the fact that the chefs who originally created these dishes are truly artists and not simply craftsmen, what prevents this from being an unauthorized reproduction of their work?  My big question would be : 

Was this chef authorized to reproduce and claim as his own the dishes he learned as a stagiere by the chefs who created them? 

Taking it so far as to duplicate the exact graphic design of the photos and not give attribution, the shrimp pasta dish for example... photos are definitely copyrighted material, aren't they?

Are you saying that all new dishes should be protected? Only the most "original"? How do you define "original"? And who would decide?

Is the point that some dishes aren't just new dishes but use a new technique? So does that mean that the technique should be protected? So no one else could use it without paying a fee? Is that desirable? Is there something different about "molecular" cuisine that makes it appropriate to protect that kind of recipe when no one is arguing for the protection of the miso black cod/molten chocolate cake types of recipes?

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Are you saying that all new dishes should be protected?  Only the most "original"?  How do you define "original"?  And who would decide?

Is the point that some dishes aren't just new dishes but use a new technique?  So does that mean that the technique should be protected?  So no one else could use it without paying a fee?  Is that desirable?  Is there something different about "molecular" cuisine that makes it appropriate to protect that kind of recipe when no one is arguing for the protection of the miso black cod/molten chocolate cake types of recipes?

Simply put, no. That would require all of my time and I find filing patents less than stimulating. I just file on things that have numerous applications that can cover areas beyond the food world. I dont bother filing on dishes, just new technology.

"Molecular" cuisine is breaking new ground. Every day there are new discoveries that major companies have not considered. Therefore those techniques are the ones that should be protected.

The US Patent and Trademark Office does not recognize recipes as something that can be protected. They are subject to a lot of abiguity due to ethnic diversities and other factors.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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it is not my position that anything illegal took place. As Chef Cantu said, it would not be possible to police -- nor could we even define the borders. Nor, in my opinion, is it even desirable. IP protection for a process with wide consumer applications is a different matter.

Nonetheless, I do think that there are times when an invisible line is crossed... it just feels wrong. Everyone's moral compass is different, but sometimes it is obvious. I very much understand that this has no legal meaning.

In writing, unless a novel is exceptionally successful (like the da vinci code right now), there is no other penalty other than the consternation of your peers. In academia it is largely the same. It seems the same here too.

The difference here as well is that it is not a technique or a tool adopted or a recipe that was followed or a presentation copied. It was all of the above.

I should add that Chef G received a lengthy apology from Chef Wickens. In Alinea's book, this incident is closed.

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IMO, at the Big-Name-Chef level, copying recipe and presentation without attribution is rude.

I can see a purpose in providing such copies, at a geographical location so far removed from the source. There is a simple method by which one can provide both attribution and get credit for execution and creative menu planning. List it as Blahblah ala Whosits or Blahblah de Whosits.

As a consumer, I'd be impressed the restauranteur is providing items from such a high level of world-wide creativity, but there'd be no fear I'd mistake it for the kitchens' own creation.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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My point is that there used to not be such a thing as food plagiarism--it was not an issue since it was accepted practice.

Plagiarism is representing someone else's work as your own. I don't see how this was ever an accepted practice in cuisine. When a chef cooks Peche Melba, it's not an attempt to pass off Peche Melba as the chef's own work. The dish is part of what in writing would be called common knowledge.

Certainly, there are some examples that come close to the line. The evolution of a dish, and the exact point at which it passes from being the invention of one chef to being common knowledge, is not the easiest thing in the world to track. But some of these things are no brainers. On the one hand, molten-center chocolate cake has passed into common knowledge. It's not plagiarism to make it, the chef who serves it isn't really representing it as his own -- though maybe he'll give it a little twist of some sort -- and only seriously inexperienced diners will assume it's the chef's invention. On the other hand, these dishes from Alinea and WD-50 are quite unique and have certainly not passed into common knowledge such that it would be good form to serve them without attribution.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Nonetheless, I do think that there are times when an invisible line is crossed... it just feels wrong.  Everyone's moral compass is different, but sometimes it is obvious.  I very much understand that this has no legal meaning.

This post is going to make me highly unpopular, which I am prepared to accept - but no

one else is coming out and saying it - so I'm going to.

If there is an invisible line - it was crossed long ago.

I can remember the first version of the Moto website back in '03 said in great big letters:

"In the tradition of great chefs like Charlie Trotter and Ferran Adria".

I think I may even have a PDF of it somewhere.

It's common knowledge that Achatz staged at El Bulli for a week and then came back

and started doing cuisine in the style of Ferran Adria- something he has been ragged

about numerous times, has commented on himself and still to this day seems as though

he publicly diminishes the fact that this is where a great deal of his inspiration came from

- though his Keller influence also comes through undeniably.

We have chefs with "labs" wearing lab-coats using liquid nitrogen and alginate, centrifuges and plating things in such a similar style that my guess is if you put all the dishes on Flash cards and showed them to a cross section of people - they wouldn't be able to tell what came from where.

I realize chefs are in a position where they are like diamond inspectors and can tell the

difference between a G color diamond and a nearly G color diamond and separate

them into piles - but most people can't.

To many many many people out here it looks as though they have embodied

El Bulli - Adria himself has even made comments about this to the media.

In my opinion - these people owe their existence to people like Trotter, Adria and Keller (whom in turn owe their existence to others) whom they have derived the large part of their success from and who's styles are blatantly evident in what they do.

If anybody is going to start the process of pointing fingers for crossing invisible lines, copying,

or if anyone is going to start charging for their ideas - then I believe the men above

deserve a big fat payout.

Then let the scrambling begin from that point.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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Actually, you bring up an excellent point...

indeed, I think both Grant and Homaro have acknowledged their debt to Chef Adria in forwarding cuisine -- and chef Adria himself cites others like Arzak. Grant frequently cites Chef Keller as his mentor -- I don't know how much more strongly he can make that case.

However, when Chef Adria dined at Moto and Alinea earlier this month, he was not presented with any courses that were ever served at El Bulli. In fact, he was impressed with the level of creativity and innovation present at both restaurants -- his direct quote to me is that "everyone here takes this incredibly seriously and it is evident -- you should be very proud".

As you say, "and whom in turn owe their existence to others" on down the line.

I reiterate -- the very purpose of a stage is to learn techniques and ideas and then apply them to your own ideas and develop a personal style. You don't need to be a diamond inspector to seperate the dishes in question into piles... my 6 year old can tell that they are the same originiation.

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Certainly, there are some examples that come close to the line. The evolution of a dish, and the exact point at which it passes from being the invention of one chef to being common knowledge, is not the easiest thing in the world to track. But some of these things are no brainers. On the one hand, molten-center chocolate cake has passed into common knowledge. It's not plagiarism to make it, the chef who serves it isn't really representing it as his own -- though maybe he'll give it a little twist of some sort -- and only seriously inexperienced diners will assume it's the chef's invention. On the other hand, these dishes from Alinea and WD-50 are quite unique and have certainly not passed into common knowledge such that it would be good form to serve them without attribution.

FWIW, I think this is the answer.

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Although you have to wonder, when do dishes pass into the "public domain"?

Like, when the first person copied Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake, was he plagiarizing? Was it wrong at first to serve that dish without attribution, but became OK later? And how about Nobu's sable? Was the first Japanese fusion place to copy it wrong, but now it's OK? (Or does someone with more functioning brain cells than me recall that, at first, these dishes were attributed on other menus? -- Not my recollection, I think.)

Again, these aren't rhetorical questions. I really want to know people's answers.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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However, when Chef Adria dined at Moto and Alinea earlier this month, he was not presented with any courses that were ever served at El Bulli.  In fact, he was impressed with the level of creativity and innovation present at both restaurants -- his direct quote to me is that "everyone here takes this incredibly seriously and it is evident -- you should be very proud".

Indeed it does seem they have executed things very well - nor should they not be proud of their achievements.

I was merely pointing out that where you personally seem to draw the invisible line (specific dishes) and where I perceive the invisible line (readily identifiable and attributable concepts, ideas, techniques etc etc of known or even unknown individuals or groups) are very different - as my perception of the line is farther back than yours.

It also does indeed seem evident that these particular dishes were copied - but the point brought by many here is where is that line drawn?

Yes, they have both acknowledge their debt - I never meant to imply they didn't - in some way.

But the level of detail that things are being taken to here begs the question as to whether or not

their mentors should be mentioned and credited in nearly every facet of their operation - for instance when we see a Moto or Alinea cookbook - are we going to see a "Thanks Charlie, Ferran and Thomas" section?

Because it certainly seems to me that many want to own everything after a certain point of "evolution" has been crossed.

Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I doubt we'd be having this conversation if the imitated dishes in question hadn't been posted on a website. So one thing I'd like all of you to consider is whether the true offense wasn't so much presenting the dishes without attribution in one restaurant but broadcasting them to the world as if they were originals. Do any of you think it would be OK to present copies of dishes without explicit attribution on the menu, as long as they weren't web-posted and, let's say their origins would be admitted in response to a question by a knowledgeable diner? I would argue in favor of, when in doubt, disclose explicitly, but I'd like to read your views.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Like, when the first person copied Vongerichten's molten chocolate cake, was he plagiarizing?  Was it wrong at first to serve that dish without attribution, but became OK later?  And how about Nobu's sable?  Was the first Japanese fusion place to copy it wrong, but now it's OK? 

I think there's a much sharper focus on invention in avant-garde cuisine than in the case of either of the dishes you've referenced. For one thing, I'm not at all certain that Jean-Georges and Nobu are the inventors of those dishes. A pastry chef could tell us if it was Georges Blanc or a predecessor, and I believe there's at least a claim that Tojo served the miso cod dish first. However, that's not really the point. Each of those dishes represents such a gradual evolution that it's not so clearly marked as an invention. The molten-center chocolate cake is a small variation on various other chocolate pastries. When you get into this avant-garde stuff, though, you're dealing with some pretty radical breaks: a whole new way of making noodles, the anti-griddle, etc. That's a big part of why, I think, the question of copying has been mostly in the background until now. There was grumbling about unoriginal chefs, but there wasn't the same kind of invention we have now.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Pan,

I surely wouldnt know of the situation if not for the web pix. I lean toward attribution. Its good manners.

FatGuy, are you saying chefs shouldnt borrow techniques? Quelle horreur (sp?) - we all have to go back to raw food!

<editted to respond to simultaneous FG post>

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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whether the true offense wasn't so much presenting the dishes without attribution in one restaurant but broadcasting them to the world as if they were originals

Since when does such a question depend on getting caught or on how many people find out?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think there's a much sharper focus on invention in avant-garde cuisine than in the case of either of the dishes you've referenced. For one thing, I'm not at all certain that Jean-Georges and Nobu are the inventors of those dishes. A pastry chef could tell us if it was Georges Blanc or a predecessor, and I believe there's at least a claim that Tojo served the miso cod dish first. However, that's not really the point. Each of those dishes represents such a gradual evolution that it's not so clearly marked as an invention. The molten-center chocolate cake is a small variation on various other chocolate pastries. When you get into this avant-garde stuff, though, you're dealing with some pretty radical breaks: a whole new way of making noodles, the anti-griddle, etc. That's a big part of why, I think, the question of copying has been mostly in the background until now. There was grumbling about unoriginal chefs, but there wasn't the same kind of invention we have now.

Thanks. That was the answer I was looking for.

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I would bet that the would be Alinea book would indeed include a thanks to Adria, and most especially Keller.

But the point of evolution is crossed when a chef begins to develop techniques of their own. It is interesting to note that in the history of visual art, is is not uncommon for two artists to simultaneously develop a similar style or technique even though they were seperated culturally and quite literally by many miles. So it is possible, and even quite likely, that two chefs will come up with similar ideas independently of one-another.

Nonetheless, Cezanne did not see a painting of another artist and then go home and paint the identical subject and proclaim it as his own. Often it is a gray area, sometimes it is not.

I think Fat Guy has hit the nail on the head all around. I nominate him to be my spokesperson from here out -- but only on this topic, please!

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Wow! Great discussion everyone.

In reality, who cares if a restaurant in Melbourne offers up a dish from a restaurant in New York, and pretends it's their own?

IMO, the copying restaurant itself should care. Whether there is a law against it or not, a chef who simply copies a unique dish created by another, with no credit is wrong. No one might be able to sue him for doing it, but he (or she) must know that it is wrong.

Sizzleteeth- Cantu or Achatz using what they learned from Adria to create their own unique dishes is very different than copying an Adria dish verbatim to the last garnish.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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This argument is one of intellectual property. I'm not a lawyer, but it would be interesting to hear the legal perspective on patents and copyrights as it applies to food.

Intellectual property protection for recipes is notoriously weak, unless you want to spend a lot of time and money and get a patent. A patent would give you the right to be the only person or company to use the recipe. You'd have to patent in all the countries you feel you would be at risk or would want to protect yourself, and you'd have to keep an eye out and sue anyone infringing your patent - it's only a right to protect yourself, the government doesn't police this at all. This is an extremely expensive proposition.

Patents - This route is usually only used by large food manufacturing companies, as they can afford to use it. For an example, go to www.uspto.gov and search for patent 6,783,782 - Grooved freezer-to-oven pizza crust - owned by Pillsbury. They note the size, shape, position of grooves, and other detailed information. If they found anyone else doing the same thing, they could sue them for infringement. You could put together your own US patent for a few thousand dollars (plus renewal fees), but if you brought in a lawyer it could easily cost tens of thousands. And that's before you sue anyone.

Design patents - Design patents are utilized to protect the novel ornamental features of a utilitarian object. I haven't looked at how this applies to recipes, but especially with visual presentations, this may be a way forward. But again, it would be expensive (although much cheaper than a utility patent) and will need to be defended.

Copyright - A mere listing of ingredients for a recipe is not copyrightable. However, if eg. a cookbook or other author spices up his or her recipes with explanatory material, such material is protectible. One court has suggested that this could include advice on wines to go with the meal, hints on place settings and appropriate music, or tales of a recipe’s historical or ethnic origin. (Publications Int’l Ltd v. Meredith Corp., 88 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 1996) http://www.pddoc.com/copyright/publications_v_meredith.htm. Photographs or drawings included in a cookbook would also be copyrightable unless taken from other public domain sources. Keep in mind, however, that it is only the individual bare-bones recipes that are in the public domain. A collection of numerous recipes can be protected as a compilation. But in this event the copyright only extends to the selection and arrangements of the recipes as a whole. The individual recipes are still not protected.

Copyright of photographs - Only photos that are original can have copyright protection. What can be protected is:

- The way the photograph is made – choice of time, light exposure, camera angle or perspective, etc

- The arrangement of the people, scenery, or other subjects depicted

- A photo that recreates a scene unlikely to recur, eg a battle between an elephant and a tiger

So, the item that is photographed can't really be protected - you could photograph a similar subject with different artistic choices without infringing photograph copyright.

This information all comes from various NOLO books, especially The public domain – how to find & use copyright-free writings, music, art & more by Stephen Fishman, 2004. NOLO have easy-to-read legal books, and I love them.

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Great thread topic.

I will attempt to answer Sizzleteeth's questions as well. Influence is ubiquitous. Everyone is influenced by others both positively and negatively. It is certainly courteous to recognize conscious influences, but impossible to recognize all subconscious influences. While courteous, it shouldn't be necessary. The whole world of the stagiere is built upon being influenced. The chef of a restaurant using staiges counts on the staige being influenced and disseminating ideas. The chef gains in stature by subsequent emulation with their proteges utilizing techniques and styles. However, if that protege was to blatantly copy a recipe and claim it for him or herself that is clearly a different story. Copy it and offer it as homage to the originator? Sure, that is where imitation is flattery.

As for photographs of food on the internet - it cuts both ways. I see it as protection for the truly creative chef. While another chef may get ideas, the presentation at least should be protected. Where they gray area starts coming into play is when chefs start doing riffs on original creations. At what point does the new creation belong to the chef? Is it a change of one ingredient? A slight change in plating? Obviously, the closer a recipe and presentation is to the original the clearer the infraction is. I agree though, that ultimately it is a question of ethics. If a dish is clearly a take on a previous dish identifiable as a creation it should be credited as such. If it is a dish that is a variation on a dish within a cultural domain or widely known, "credit" is not only not necessary, it would be difficult to attribute.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Sizzleteeth- Cantu or Achatz using what they learned from Adria to create their own unique dishes is very different than copying an Adria dish verbatim to the last garnish.

Let me be the first to admit that I do not come from a position of innocence.

In my time I have lied, cheated and stolen - outright traced patterns line for line, screwed people over, been blinded by greed and generally made some bad decisions - especially in my younger days.

I'll even give you examples if you like.

I make no claim otherwise and I really hope I have learned my lesson from those past occurrences and do not repeat my mistakes in the future - though as a human being I am not immune to anything that may cause something like that to occur.

I'm not a chef, my food is not the most delicious you've ever eaten nor are the things I cook the most innovative - as I said before - as far as I know, as a person in any aspect of my life I am not doing anything in exclusion of all others

But I believe that is the question we are trying to answer, is it very different when you get down to specifics?

I'll be interested to see what the outcome is - as I can only speak from my personal point of view - which contains many filters and many biases - even as much as I try to avoid those very things.

Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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somehow i think this topic had to come up...

before getting into detail i have to say that we will absolutely get nowhere with any copycat accusations at all. the thing that we call "avantgarde cuisine" is a brand new artform, and comes with all the "influenced by" side effects. i strongly believe in the phrase "what goes around comes around" thats why whenever i discover something cool i let others know just for the sake of it (as i did with peelzyme for example ;-) to chef cantu i want to say i feel deeply sorry for his staffers who need to sign any nda´s :-(

i PERSONALLY think (and i dont want bother anyone here)

that i might not be that proud of beeing solely known

for the "invention" of the spicerubbed inkjetted yet eatable wafer

cheers

torsten s.

Edited by schneich (log)

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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    • By swpeterson
      I have been buying country style bone-in ribs instead of bone-in pork chops. I season them with a rub very similar to Emeril's Rustic Rub spice rub and use a heaping tablespoon a rendered Nueskie's Applewood smoked bacon fat in the Food Saver vacumn bag. We have been using 2 ribs in the bag but have made the decision to switch to one to split. The meat is so rich and flavorful that we can easily split one and enjoy the meal even more.
      For a sauce, I cobbled together a sauce made with the juice of half a valencia orange, the pulp from 1 passion fruit, 1 cup pitted cherries (I used rainiers and bings in this one), 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup white wine, juice from 1 lime, 2 tsp honey, garlic cloves crushed (I used roasted garlic that I keep in the fridge and 'crushed' them in my 'special' coffee grinder(2)) and 1 medium sized shallot. I used the same bacon fat to soften the shallots, then added the rest of the ingredients and let it reduce by about a third and then let it rest and reheated it when the pork ribs were done.
      I kept them in the sous vide at 141 from 10:00 AM until I got home from work at 7:00. It took another half hour +/- to change clothes, pour a glass of wine, reheat the sauce, make a salad, and heat up the garlic bread that I keep prepped in the freezer. After the bread was heated for about 8 minutes, I switched the oven to broil and took the bread out of the oven.
      I have started to experiment with using the broiler element to put color on the proteins that I have cooked in the sous vide. I have placed the oven rack on the third rack from the top, leave the door ajar while I bring the broiler element up to heat. I use my 10" stainless steel saute pan with a stainless steel rack in the pan for the protein. I open the sous vide package and pour the liquid that has accumulated in the bag into the bottom of the pan. I put the ribs, fattest side up on the rack and place the pan in the oven. I leave the door ajar and let them stay in there for 8 mnutes.
      That timing has worked extremely well for both the ribs and the chicken that I have done. I don't flip them yet and that hasn't been necessary for those 2 proteins. (I was much less successful with this formula for the flank steak which I think needs to be closer the heat source for less time).
      At any rate, the broiler is working well for color and the meat and sauce are great. The sauce also works very well with chicken. Haven't tried it yet with the salmon.
      Just wanted to share as I really love this sous vide thing and wanted to share.
      Sorry no photos yet. I haven't figured that part out yet but my husband promises to teach me.
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